Paco Sala

The Silent Season

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Paco Sala's first full-length for Denovali Records is far more experimental than their earlier albums for Digitalis and Night School, largely drifting away from the duo's Italo-disco, R&B, and new wave influences and loose pop structures. The album's pieces were improvised following surgery, heavy sedation, and housebound isolation, and they feel appropriately sluggish and detached. The beats trudge, the tones are smudged and smeared, and the vocals are blurry and indistinct. While some tracks are scattered and dissonant, such as "Trooper (Silent Season Edit)," others are soothing and reflective, such as "JP-8000 Workout Nmbr 1." "California" features splattered, frazzled laser synths which blurt away until a loop stating "dance music's not just dance music anymore" takes over during the track's last minute. "Su-pont" features another cryptic loop (a submerged "are you my angel?") over suspenseful waves and crystalline vibrations. "MS2000R Workout Nmbr 1" comes closer to the group's hazy dream pop sound, with ethereal vocals, noir-ish guitar, and a tranquilized rhythm. "Your House," tucked away at the end of the album, sounds like it's going to materialize into a song, with twinkling pianos and a chant of "father, mother, brother, sister," but then the developing beat lags behind a mysterious loop stating the track's title, and the whole things dissolves after little more than a minute. The Silent Season definitely seems like a transitional release, but given how Paco Sala's other albums are intriguing in how they deconstruct pop music forms, this one doesn't seem like that much of a stretch into uncharted territory, and its experiments are still compelling.

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